Ferrari can beat Mercedes, despite Friday advantage - Vettel
Will Mercedes win at Austria’s Red Bull Ring for a fifth year in a row? It’s a question a lot of people are asking ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix. And after Friday's practice sessions, Sebastian Vettel believes it will be a close battle, as has been the case all season, between the reigning world champions and Ferrari...
The Silver Arrows, who have added a new aero upgrade here in Spielberg, perhaps head into Saturday’s final practice and qualifying with the momentum, having seen French Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton top the timesheet in both Friday practice sessions.
However, not too much should be taken from the first day of Austria action, with Ferrari often keeping their cards close to their chest in Friday running. And although Vettel admitted Mercedes have the upper hand, he sees no reason why Ferrari can’t triumph this weekend.
“Do I believe we can (win)? Yes. I think the car has been quite good today, usually we have a good step from Friday to Saturday so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow,” said the German. “I think Mercedes had the upper hand today, they looked very quick in all conditions but I think it was a tricky Friday.
"The tyres? I think we did a lot of laps, which was good, and we should be well prepared for tomorrow and also for Sunday. We always have to leave a bit of a margin on Friday, so I’m happy with what we achieved today.”
After finishing fourth and third respectively in FP1 and FP2, Vettel will now turn his attention to Saturday’s qualifying - a session he hopes to end as the polesitter.
“It’s always important to start from pole position but here it’s really difficult to overtake. I think today we had good speed, on Saturdays we’re normally a bit stronger than on the first day.
“So I’m hoping that’s the case tomorrow and then we’ll see. But, as always, being on the front row is always very important. And our speed was better than my Italian!”
At the last race in France, Vettel forced his way back through the field to finish fifth after his opening-lap clash with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
He’ll be hoping to keep his nose clean this weekend in his bid to regain his world championship lead, with arch rival and leader Hamilton currently 14 points above the Ferrari star.